The spinners were the stars once again as the Indian women’s cricket team rode on two-wicket hauls each from Poonam Yadav, Rajeshwari Gayakwad and Deepti Sharma to help the side defend a paltry 191. West Indies were bundled out for 138 to give the Indians a 53-run win as they drew level in the three-match ODI series.
Opting to bat first after winning the toss at Antigua on a sluggish track, runs were hard to come by with India only managing 191 for 6 in their quota of overs. Their struggles began from the start itself as the in-form opening duo of Priya Punia and Jemimah Rodrigues were sent back for a combined score of 5.
At 17 for 2 in 9 overs, it needed a steadying act by a batter, and Raut came to the rescue as she stitched fifty-plus stands with Mithali Raj and then Harmanpreet Kaur. While the captain was cautious in her approach, taking 67 balls to score 40 runs, Harmanpreet scored a stroke-filled 46 off 52 deliveries before she was dismissed trying to up the run rate.
Raut, at the other end, top-scored for the Indians with a fine 77, which was also her 13th fifty in ODI cricket. Her innings largely along with vital contributions from the two most important women in Indian cricket ensured that the team crossed the 190-run mark.
In reply, the visitors unleashed their strong suit – the slower bowlers – upfront as they choked the run flow and increased the pressure with every over. However, at 78 for 1 by the 25th over, the West Indies were still the favourites, and it needed a spirited showing from the Indians to save the ODI series.
That is exactly how it panned out, as in the next 11 overs, West Indies lost 6 wickets for just 27 runs, with five of them falling to the spinners. Afy Fletcher and Aaliyah Alleyne stayed put at the crease for around 10 overs with India needing two wickets for a win, but it turned out to be too little too late.
With it, India registered their 150th win in the ODI format, and will hope to win the series when the last game is played at the very venue on November 6.
Brief Scores: India 191/6 in 50 overs (Punam Raut 77, Harmanpreet Kaur 46; Afy Fletcher 2/32, Aaliyah Alleyne 2/38) beat West Indies 138 in 47.2 overs (Shemaine Campbelle 39, Stafanie Taylor 20; Deepti Sharma 2/25, Poonam Yadav 2/26) by 53 runs.